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Language dominance and lexical diversity: How bilinguals and L2 learners differ in their knowledge and use of French lexical and functional items

By J. Treffers-Daller


This chapter makes an important contribution to our understanding of how the language abilities of bilinguals differ from those of second language learners. Few researchers have so far attempted to assess the knowledge bilinguals have of either language in any detail, although it is legitimate to question how one can differentiate between different types of bilinguals or between bilinguals and second language learners. In the study a detailed comparison is made of the vocabulary of French-Dutch bilinguals from Brussels, Flemish learners of French and French-English bilingual students from a business school in Paris. Analyses of the data were carried with the help of CLAN, a computer software developed by MacWhinney (2000) for the analysis of written and spoken language. There were not only significant differences between the three groups in their use of lexical items, but also in their use of function words: relativisers, the L2 learners used fewer and a more limited range (only subject relativisers) than the bilinguals

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Year: 2009
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